23 February 2008

Game Day Preview - Once more into the breach, dear friends

Let's look at the last 5 games for both clubs:

Maple Leafs
Feb 21 - L
ATL 3 @ CAR 5
Feb 16 - L
ATL 1 @ NYI 4
Feb 15 - W
ATL 4 @ NJD 3
Feb 13 - W
WSH 2 @ ATL 3
Feb 9 - W
TBL 1 @ ATL 2
Feb 21 - L
BUF 5 @ TOR 1
Feb 19 - L
CBJ 1 @ TOR 3
Feb 16 - W
BOS 3 @ TOR 4
Feb 14 - L
NYI 5 @ TOR 4
Feb 13 -L
TOR 0 @ BUF 1

So off the bat, we've got more wins. And let's not kid ourselves, the Leafs are the worst team in the league right now. Bad enough that the biggest rumour surrounding them is that their longtime captain is going to be dealt by the deadline. That's pretty rough. But the thing is, if the Thrash don't respect an opponent, they play like shit against them. See: New York Islanders. Regardless of the Leafs suckitude at this point, the boys have to go into the ACC respecting and fearing this team, as the Leafs have nothing to lose, which leads to some pretty crazy hockey at times. Desperate times call for desperate measures, on everyone's part.

There are 20 games remaining in the season. Being 5 points behind division leading Carolina, if the boys lose to a team like the Leafs, what hope in hell do they have of making the post season? Slim to none, and slim just left town. I think tonight's game will be very telling. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to Lehtonen telling the press that the first period of the last game was a joke, and his clear ire at their lack of effort. At this point, I would not be the least bit surprised were I to learn Kari is hoping to get traded off this team, and onto one that takes the game seriously.

I have no hope for this game. I want to believe, but they've made it very difficult. I believe in Lehtonen, but judging by his last game, even he is starting to lose faith in himself, and the team in front of him.

I have no prediction for this game, because at this point, you may as well flip a coin to guess a winner. But here's to hoping.

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